CHAPTER 3: Something New

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I concentrated on eating the bagel in front of me, but I really didn't have an appetite. My Mom looked at me curiously, assuming it was nerves for the first day at school.

"So we realize that your birthday is in a few days, but we thought that we'd let you use your new present on the first day of school... Would you like to see it?"

I made a face at him, unable to determine whether or not this was something big. I followed him anyway to curious too question his sanity. He pulled me to the front door and when he opened it I couldn't believe my eyes. In the driveway wrapped in a bright red bow was the truck I had been saving up for, for months now. It was a dark charcoal grey Tacoma Pre-Runner. My dream.

"We figured it would be perfect for the snow and not to mention, we guessed you'd probably get into snowboarding so it can fit in the back too." I pulled him close for a hug.

"I love you dad, seriously." I said and repeated the ritual when I saw my Mom in the doorway.

This day, I knew would be different from all the rest.

I made my way out of my car and towards the main entrance. The cold had put a little red in my cheeks, but I felt alive and excited as I'd ever been. Upon reaching my new High School I took mental notes of everything around me, it was still a bit early, but kids were slowly beginning to arrive. I had been told that the classes were small and that there weren't as many students in my graduating class as there had been back at home. I was a little comforted by that, part of the reason why there school back home was hard was because there were so many people, everyday I saw someone I didn't know. finally I found the office and managed to get in there before a noisy group of girls passed through the hallway.

"Hey can I help you." Said a pretty Indian girl with long black hair.

"Um yea, I'm Cassandra Conaway, a new student." I said, my words coming out in a rush.

She smiled then as she passed me the student map, she carefully explained the easiest routes, mapping them out for me as she told me about the best and worst teachers. I laughed out of sheer nervousness. The Indian girl wasn't fooled though.

"You'll be fine, I swear, they'll love you here." I heard her say but couldn't focus on her words any longer because I felt eyes on me. I turned slowly and saw a flash of gold quickly before they disappeared. I shook the feeling and plastered a smile on my face as I thanked her.

I gathered my books up into my backpack, throwing it carelessly over my shoulder. I pushed open the door with my left hand, my eyes still on the office when I slammed into something hard. Strong hands gripped either side of me as I gasped in surprise. I realized then that the hard object I managed to hit was in fact a body, a lithe, strong, stone like body. I knew I was staring straight ahead like an idiot, so shaking myself mentally I forced my gaze up. It took me a while to look up into his eyes, but when I did I let out a pathetic little huff. Staring back at me were the most gorgeous pair of golden brown eyes I had ever seen. I took a step back, then another and another.

"Sorry." I managed to squeak out as I turned to flee.

I heard him clear his throat behind me, to get my attention. I took four full steps before I realized that I had dropped something. I turned and actually focused my eyes on him then. My developing paper was in his hands.

"Forgetting something?" He questioned. I mentally groaned. Not only did I smash into him, but I also tried to run away. 'Shoot me!' declared the little voice in my head.

"Um yea." I happened to get out.

He studied the paper in his hands as I walked back towards him.

"So a photographer huh." I nodded my head as I stood in front of him, my hand outstretched to grab my paper.

"Figured." Was all he said. But it was the way he said it that propelled my next sentence.

"And I assume you're the hot auto mechanic with a soft spot for Chaucer."

He smiled then. I snapped my mouth shut, and closed my eyes, turning to walk away, but he grabbed me by the wrist. I felt the blush as I crept up from my neck, bathing my face in a horrible red glow. He leaned close to me so that only I could hear.

"Guilty, but no one else here knows so let's keep that between us... our little secret huh." I was completely breathless, and I felt the spot where he was touching my wrist before he quietly let go.

"May I have the name of the one whom unmasks me?" he questioned seriously, in a Shakespearean accent.

"Cass Conaway, pleasure. And you..." I ground out, as I put a hand up to my forehead, attempting to cover my flaming face.

"Jarek Weston, my lady." he replied with an ostentatious bow.

"How'd you know?" he asked simply.

"How'd I know about what?"

"The whole mechanic/Chaucer thing." He waved his hand above him as he said it.

"I guessed."

He stared at me, a grin spreading to his lips. And then he laughed, and I mean really laughed, bordering on ridiculous. So much so that I was tempted to join him in his little laughing fit. I was laughing hysterically now in the hallway.

"You guessed?" He repeated.

"Yea" I said, holding my sides which were still shaking with laughter.

"Come on, how 'bout I help you with your classes." I followed him, shaking my head to myself. This was going to be an interesting day.

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